The first 5G phone was launched in March 2020. Since then, the technology seems to be gradually being adopted on a large scale. Today, a new study shows that 5G smartphones are now more marketed than their 4G counterparts.
Neil Shah, a partner at market analyst firm Counterpoint, tweeted a graph on Wednesday showing that 49.9% of all smartphones shipped globally during the second quarter are equipped with 5G technology.
The result: 5G smartphones beat their predecessors for the first time, 4G phones, which still had a 49.7% market share during this same period, years before. Interesting to note: the remaining 0.4% is occupied by obsolete 3G devices.
5G, short for “fifth generation mobile network”, is a telecommunications technology standard characterized by higher data transfer rates and lower network latency compared to its predecessor, 4G.
Eventually, the network should theoretically be able to manage speeds that can go up to several gigabits per second (Gbps). But in practice we are more around 1 Gbps, which is already not bad. In comparison: in 2019, according to Test-Achats in Belgium, 4G reached speeds of between 24.6 and 33.7 Mbps, up to 40 times slower than 5G.
On the other hand, there is currently no general 5G network in our country. The providers offer coverage in a number of areas, such as the coast, parts of East Flanders, Leuven and the Antwerp region. But that could change as auctions for 5G licenses took place in June and July, which could soon accelerate the rollout of 5G in our country.
3G in the trash
While 5G is emerging, most devices are still using the 4G network. Its predecessor, 3G, still exists, but only a tiny amount of smartphones would still use this network. On Thursday, Telenet therefore announced that it would switch off its 3G signal from September 2024. Orange should do the same in 2025.
But that’s not all since there is also an active 2G network in Belgium. However, turning it off might be harder than phasing out 3G. This is because the network is used for emergency telephones and many cars also use it for eCall, the mandatory 112 caller that is installed in every new car. Telenet has already stated that the 2G network will remain in service until at least 2027 for this reason.